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Letting too small room leads to £46,650 bill for rogue operator

A landlord of a shared house in Hove, near Brighton, has been found to be ‘putting people’s lives at risk’ and ordered to pay £45,650.

It’s the largest fine to date for a breach of housing regulations in the city.

Brighton Magistrates found Muharrem Kartal guilty of over-crowding, letting rooms he’d been informed were too small to be occupied, and failing to maintain shared kitchens and bathrooms in a safe and working condition.

He had pleaded guilty to three other charges in December, including failing to ensure that fire escapes were maintained and free from obstruction, and fire equipment and alarms were in good working order. 

The charges were bought following an inspection by council officers in July 2016, where they found at least 12 people living in the building licensed for a maximum of nine.

The breaches of Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing conditions and management regulations all refer to a four storey maisonette over a restaurant in Hove. 

Kartal had previously been prosecuted for not licensing this property, as well as breaches of food hygiene legislation in another restaurant run by him.

Due to the previous convictions and evidence showing Kartal received at least £43,680 annual rental income on the property, the magistrates fined him the equivalent amount, and ordered him to pay £1,800 costs to the council and a £170 victim surcharge.

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